May 22, 2012

(Colorlines) -- The Southern Poverty Law Center has filed two federal civil rights complaints against the Jefferson Parish school system for allegedly discriminating against black and disabled students and sending them to alternative schools, where they often languish for months or even years before returning to school. Now the civil rights organization is highlighting racially charged comments made by one of the district’s psychologists as evidence of potential racial biases.

“Young Black Thugs who won’t follow the law need to be put down not incarcerated. Put down like the Dogs they are!” read one tweet made by Mark Traina, the Jefferson Parish school psychologist, who has worked with alternative schools and in central administration.
On Monday, the Times-Picayune reported Traina worked in central administration with the process of referring children to alternative campuses.

In another tweet about the Republican presidential primaries in March, Traina wrote, “I grew up in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana - I am a Wallace Man at Heart!”

“It’s particularly alarming to have someone who works for the school system in a position of authority be pro-segregation,” Eden Heilman, a lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law Center told, referring to Traina’s remark about George Wallace, segregationist governor of Alabama.

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